Have I been a bit negative recently? I’m reading Libby’s post about her being called a miserable cow and wondering if I’m in danger of being called the same because of my conveyance of my current school experiences!
I’m just starting to plan a very positive school event and I thought I’d try to sound a bit more upbeat. I’m planning the final fine detail for our Year 6 transition Parents evening and the subsequent pupil induction day. It’s so uplifting to think about the new group of pupils who are about to join us.
They don’t know any of us (at most they know of us through siblings); for the most part they will be lively, enthusiastic and a breath of fresh air and in a fortnight’s time I’ll completely loose my cynical edge for a couple of hours as we pray for the five years we’ll spend together.
In my plans I’m using staff roles as they will be from September and so it’s also made me think about the fact that I’ll be a Deputy Head in a few months’ time. That always brings a smile to my face (mainly a wry one as I wonder how I managed to fool so many people into thinking I was up to it); the new senior team business cards have been ordered and the team is forging forwards. Our new Assistant Headteacher is already attending meetings and is beginning to find her feet.
Anyway, back to the transition events: I don’t think I realised when I first started teaching how much of a logistics expert I would become. I’ve just spent at least 20 minutes thinking about which doorway it’s better for parents to come into as they’ll be coming from the playground (which we turn into a car park for the evening). I’ve also spelt out for the caretakers – Exactly how I want the 350 chairs in the hall to be grouped (there are 5 Houses so that worked out well even without my being a Mathematician), – what time I want the welcome signs put up by (5.30pm and not a minute later) Whilst for the ICT technician – Which events he can use for the PowerPoint presentation loop to be played as parents and Year 6 enter the hall. – How I want to position the projector screen and the chairs for the senior leadership and Heads of House on the stage – The list goes on, I won’t bother you with the detail but it got me wondering about my anally retentive qualities (as I type I’m also online treating myself to a filofax so that I can keep my to-do list, planner and diary all in one place)
Are men up to it?
There’s something about management roles that require a close eye for detail and I have a rather sexist view of a man’s ability to get it right. Perhaps I’m just looking back to how my husband coped as my then fiancé trying to help with the wedding plans; or my previous boss who couldn’t organise the proverbial in a brewery (I had a magnet on my filing cabinet asking people if they wanted to speak to “the man in charge or the woman who knows what’s going on”); ………….. I’m getting negative again and I really didn’t mean to! Seriously though, there are big differences between leading a team and managing an event but I think that by the time you get to senior leadership level you should have a good mastery of both, no matter what your gender, and yet when I look at the faces around our SLT table the divide seems quite clear.
What’s it look like in your school?
I’m just finishing my part in the first of a series of ‘learning walks’.
The Local Authority inspectors are starting us off.
They’re in today and tomorrow to observe lessons and work with Heads of Department and Senior Leaders to see ‘how learning is progressing’. I’ve done some observations of science and maths and am about to sample some Year 7 books to see how pupils have recorded their learning.
It doesn’t sound too scary to me as a teacher. Even if I know my lessons and books aren’t perfect (as they’re not) I always welcome the chance to reflect and discuss the teaching and learning going on in my classrooms.
So why did we have a science teacher who had to go home yesterday because the thought of the learning walk had stressed her out?
Did she stop to consider that the thought of her not being in today stressed me out!?
There have been several horrific incidents involving knives in my school’s local area. We’ve had a few scares with pupils bringing knives into school and a pupil being cut with what we think was a blade but as we haven’t been able to find the perpetrator I cannot say for sure.
We’ve bought some hand-held metal detectors, one for each of the senior leadership team and planned a pilot scanning of one class Friday Period 4 the four of us (including Sarah our fantastic bursar, more of her another time) walked into the Year 9 class, scanners akimbo ……. We’ve learnt a few things from the pilot and are ready to extend to carrying out locker searches at the same time.
I think the kids were mainly delighted that they were getting out of half an hour of Maths (the fact is we’d chosen this lessons because it had a supply teacher in it). Once they’d gotten over their delight they then started talking about what could be next … big arches on the way into school ……. frisking pupils as we went about the corridors (I’m actually going on a ‘how to search’ course next term.) Has anyone else got experiences of this sort of thing? Got any tips on how to handle the parents? I’m sure they will be up in arms about the fact that their dearest son or daughter was scanned in public by male teachers (as Sarah and I were on bag and invigilator duty) and made to empty their bags out in front of the rest of the class.
I know that they’ll have already forgotten the reasons why we’re doing this, the incident with Brian and other incidents happening in and around our local area.
It’s a fine line between scaring pupils and parents and helping them feel safe. Any thoughts greatly appreciated.